If new sports talk WKNR/850 owner Good Karma Broadcasting was thinking of putting together some package to pick up the radio rights to the NFL Cleveland Browns, they're gonna have to wait.
The team and Clear Channel have announced a multi-year extension of the agreement between the football team and the local radio cluster. The new pact runs through the 2008 season, with a club option to extend it another year through the 2009 season.
Quoting a Clear Channel press release:
“We are thrilled to extend our relationship with the Cleveland Browns,” said Mike Kenney, President & Market Manager for Clear Channel Radio. “Our highly successful partnership with the Browns allows fans from all over the region to follow Cleveland Browns Football at home, at work, at the stadium, or wherever they travel. The heritage of WMMS and WTAM within the community is the perfect match with the heritage of the Cleveland Browns.”
And from the Browns' end:
“We are excited to continue our partnership with Clear Channel”, said Browns CFO Michael Keenan. “We believe the wide array of quality sports and news programming Clear Channel provides will benefit Browns fans everywhere.”
The release does indeed state that rock WMMS/100.7 will continue to be the Browns flagship, with WTAM/1100 continuing to take its traditional AM flagship role when it doesn't have Indians or Cavaliers conflicts.
While the sports radio landscape was shaken up recently by Good Karma's purchase of long-lumbering sports outlet WKNR, there weren't a lot of people betting on any other outcome for the Browns rights.
One of Good Karma's biggest hurdles was beyond its control, if owner Craig Karmazin was even thinking of trying to get the Browns rights - it owns no FM stations in the market.
Any attempt to dislodge the Browns from Clear Channel would have to involve an FM station, and some point out that they're not entirely sure Good Karma would feel good about partnering with, say, CBS Radio...there is family history there, and it's not really favorable.
With the Browns locked up at Oak Tree, and the Indians and Cavaliers both in long-term contracts with Clear Channel as well, the new WKNR will have to focus on Other Things... like, perhaps, local sports talk programming that may remind one of an early spot on Mr. Karmazin's resume, WIP/610 in Philadelphia...